I’m really feeling excited about the start of the new year – it’s a new decade, and it’s the 20s!!! WOOHOOOO!!!! Bring on the flapper dresses, and the gin, and the Charleston…all of it! Mostly I want an excuse to focus more on the fun things in life – this past decade has been a roller coaster of serious shit for me, and…I’m done. I need some levity in my life!!
I subscribe to the Quartzy newsletters, and I REALLY love what they send out on Fridays. This week’s came courtesy of Oliver Staley, Quartz’s culture and lifestyle editor. Here’s what he wrote:
I’m Oliver Staley, Quartz’s culture and lifestyle editor.
As we approach 2020, much of our conversation revolves around what we won’t be doing. Next year, I won’t avoid exercising. I won’t eat a second (or third) donut. I won’t watch The Masked Singer.
But what if we turned that around and talked about what we’re looking forward to in 2020? What will we do that’s fun, stimulating, interesting, or just relaxing? We asked Quartz’s culture reporters to weigh in with what they are most eagerly anticipating in the new year. This is what they told us:
Gerhard Richter: Painting After All. Come March, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will put on the first major exhibit on German artist Gerhard Richter in the US in nearly 20 years. The show will span decades and encompass more than 100 of his works ranging from paintings to glass sculptures. Hits such as Betty, his enigmatic painting of his daughter, will be there, as well as lesser-known pieces and two new works. But what I’m really excited about are the abstracts.
His abstracts made me a fan before I knew the importance of Richter in modern art. I stumbled across some pictures online and they provoked an immediate reaction in me. He layers paint—often using a squeegee—in a way that gives it incredible depth, and his colors and lines make everything feel energetic. It’s going to be great to see so much of his work in person for the first time. (A 2020 bonus: The Whitney Museum of American Art will hold an amazing exhibit of Mexican muralists too.) —Marc Bain
The Good Lord Bird. I have always been fascinated by American abolitionist John Brown: I wrote about him for my senior history thesis in college, and I have devoured virtually every Brown-related book available. His life story is ripe for cinematic interpretation, and yet the only mainstream Hollywood depiction of Brown came in the 1940 film Santa Fe Trail. Raymond Massey’s portrayal of Brown was both inaccurate and offensive, depicting the abolitionist as a mere two-dimensional villain against whom the hero, Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart (played by Errol Flynn, naturally), could do battle. Until now, that is. Or at least, I hope.
Actor-writer Ethan Hawke will star as Brown in the upcoming Showtime miniseries The Good Lord Bird, based on the 2013 National Book Award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride, told from the point of view of a fictional freed slave who came across Brown during the violent confrontations called Bleeding Kansas. I don’t know if it’ll do Brown justice, but Hawke is a talented actor, and as the first serious attempt to bring the abolitionist to life on screen in 80 years, the miniseries has more than piqued my interest. —Adam Epstein
The Tokyo Olympics. I am an unrepentant Olympics geek. It has become fashionable in recent decades to badmouth the Olympics as wasteful, overly commercialized, and rife with drug cheats. Whatever. It’s an enormous spectacle, an opportunity to witness extraordinary athletes, and a chance to brush up on the rules of Greco-Roman wrestling. It’s also one of the few events that pulls together the entire world, and for no greater purpose than to play games. The 2020 version, which begins in July, is the first summer games in Japan since 1964, when Japan was emerging from the rubble of World War II.
The geopolitical landscape has changed, and as the Olympics have grown vastly more expensive, Japan emerged as one of the few countries with the wealth and will to hold them. Next year’s game features the return of baseball and softball (yay), the debut of skateboarding (ugh), and reemergence of stars like Simone Biles and Katie Ledeky from their four year hibernation out the limelight. I don’t know what else I’ll be doing this summer, but I do know what I will be watching. —Oliver Staley
Expo 2020 Dubai: Since attending the 2015 Expo in Milan, Expo 2020 Dubai has been on my calendar. For 173 days, over 190 nations will try to outdo each other in a grand showcase of soft power, design, and engineering. Spread across a 438-hectare (1,082 acres) space between the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the next world’s fair promises to be as bombastic and entertaining as earlier editions of the 168-year-old event.
The host city Dubai—known for its love of mega-projects—is feverishly building a “smart city” from the ground up. Attractions include a Bjarke Ingels-designed hyperloop, the world’s largest 360-degree projection screen, and ambitious structures using green technology.
Those who can’t make it to Expo 2020 can ogle daily attractions on Instagram. Follow #WorldExpo2020 and social media accounts of country pavilions. Apart from the architecture gawking, the fair also holds lessons about worker rights, ecology, and urbanism. —Anne Quito
House of Glass. After her grandmother’s death, Hadley Freeman, a journalist for the Guardian, found a shoebox in her cupboard. Inside were old photographs and a Pablo Picasso sketch—a most enthralling selection of clues. The result, 18 years in the making, is Freeman’s forthcoming memoir, House of Glass, which she describes as a tale of “family, art, fashion, war, betrayal, historical and modern antisemitism.”
The book traces Freeman’s family history, the difficult choices her grandmother and other ancestors were forced to make, and the extraordinary circumstances they found themselves in over the course of the 20th century.
Where one sibling would eventually rub shoulders with Christian Dior, Edith Piaf, and Picasso himself, another made a fortune as a microfilm pioneer. Yet another married an American, never returning to her native France. Freeman tells all their stories. Coming out in March, the book is already being heralded as “poignant” and “thrilling” in equal measures. I can’t wait to read it. —Natasha Frost
I’m going to start a movie nostalgia club. At our screenings, we will gather on my sofa and watch movies we grew up with—not so much inarguable classics like The Breakfast Club and When Harry Met Sally, but more forgotten personal favorites.
This came out of a conversation with my friend Emily about the 1987 Diane Keaton movie Baby Boom. We decided a screening was overdue. Everyone (okay, three people) who overheard us wanted in. Next up: Maid to Order (1987), starring Ally Sheedy as a maid in white ankle-boots with a chain-smoking fairy godmother played by Beverly D’Angelo. See also: Big Business (1988), in which Lily Tomlin and Bette Midlereach play a set of twins who were switched at birth. (They just don’t make ‘em like this anymore!)
I know I’m looking back instead of forward, but the thought of piling pals into my living room with popcorn and 30-year-old movies makes me feel happy and optimistic. Maybe by summertime we’ll be ready for the outdoor projector. — Jenni Avins
Have a happy New Year!
Isn’t this the best idea? I strongly dislike New Year’s resolutions anyway, and I REALLY dislike the idea of deprivation that is part of these resolutions – it’s all about what you’re not going to do/eat, etc…instead of the glorious things that you are planning to do with your life in the upcoming year. This email was a GREAT reminder of how to focus on the positive, and work on getting rid of the ‘elimination’ idea – let’s think about what we will have and do instead of what we won’t. I LOVE this!!!!!!! Stay tuned tomorrow for my list of things that I am going to LOVE doing in 2020!!!! 😊
Until then, friends!